Well, craving sugar after stopping alcohol is the result of a whole culmination of reasons. While most people attribute their post-drinking sugar cravings to their body’s reaction to the reduced intake of sugar that’s usually found in alcoholic drinks, this isn’t a complete explanation. Did you know that it’s common for people who have struggled with alcohol addiction to have low blood sugar? The liver, the organ that processes any alcohol you drink, is in charge of releasing glycogen into your blood. Alcohol stops this from happening, causing your blood sugar to drop.
In other words, like most addictive substances, alcohol creates the conditions that fuel addiction to it within the brain. This prevents exhaustion, which often creates a desire for sugary foods and drinks. The CDC states that sweetened beverages are most Americans’ leading source of added sugars. Committing to drinking only water can significantly help reduce sugar cravings. Even if you’re craving a food that isn’t doing your health any favors, in early sobriety your body is just trying to find its equilibrium. By making a few adjustments to your diet and lifestyle, you can help gently restore balance, which will take the focus off sugar.
Some research indicates that methamphetamine use can reduce blood glucose levels³, driving people toward sugary foods or drinks. In addition, the appetite suppressing properties of stimulants make eating nutritious foods less likely. Some people in recovery use high sugar foods as a survival strategy to get sufficient calories when other foods are unpalatable.
What are the health effects of not drinking alcohol for one month? A promising study that looks at what one month free of booze can do to your body. Therapy, medication, and recovery programs can all have benefit for reducing and preventing cravings.
It is deeply rooted in both substances, and largely explains just why recovering alcoholics crave sugar. Moreover, it can cause complications throughout and after recovery, especially if it overlaps with eating disorders or mental health disorders. There seems to be a distinct link between addiction and sugar cravings that many addicts experience in recovery. If you’re a recovering alcoholic, you may have expected some discomfort and other challenges, but not this. This type of craving is a new one, and you can’t seem to shake it.
Stimulants Increase Sugar Cravings
These changes can lead to tolerance, or a need to drink more in order to feel the same effects. They can also leave you more sensitive to alcohol’s effects and raise your risk of withdrawal symptoms. Physiologically speaking, when we consume alcohol, the body converts it to sugar. This leads to a subsequent spike in blood sugar levels, so when we engage in Dry January our blood sugar levels will drop.
Scientists have discovered that children of alcoholic parentsmay be more likely to have a sweet tooth. That’s why treatment centers like Silver Maple Recovery offer trauma-informed care and cognitive behavioral therapy. Addressing the underlying cause of your behavior can help you overcome a transfer addiction. You’re not alone; it’s actually common for recovering alcoholics to crave sugar. Eating ice cream or a donut every once in a while is okay, but there may be cause for concern if you’re constantly snacking.
The truth is, it’s common for people who quit drinking to, out of nowhere, start craving sugar or sweets. That said, addiction might co-occur with other conditions that affect appetite. An SUD might co-occur with an AUD, or another mental health disorder that brings about sugar cravings. That is to say, sugar cravings may be present for other reasons as well – but typically accompany alcohol addiction. Therefore, it’s always best to consult your treatment providers about it so they can inform you on what to expect.
While relying on sweets to keep you sober in the early stages of recovery can be beneficial, becoming dependent on sugar to stay sober is a whole other problem. Not only does sugar’s long-term effects on the body – like cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes – pose a problem, but the goal of sobriety is to not be reliant on any substance. If you’re prone to addictive behaviors, then you may be more likely to turn to other alternatives, such as sugar, to stay sober. Now that you’ve made the courageous decision to quit drinking, the future looks brighter.
- But even in cases of expected sugar cravings, fueled entirely by alcohol withdrawal, psychotherapy tends to be the ideal tool.
- While sugar is combined with yeast in alcohol production, the sugar content of most alcoholic beverages is zero, and alcohol never breaks down into sugar while your body is metabolizing it.
- These activities encourage dopamine production from behaviors that don’t bring about the terrible consequences of returning to active addiction.
- That’s why alcohol withdrawal and sugar cravings happen frequently.
- If you drink when taking this medication, you’ll experience a number of unpleasant and unwanted effects, including nausea and vomiting, headache, sweatiness, and more.
- Sugar also triggers dopamine receptors in the brain, and over time a person can become desensitized to it, while experiencing strong cravings.
At first I thought it was just because my body was used to the high sugar content of alcoholic drinks, and was thus seeking it from different places. For reference, a small glass of wine can have 2-3% of your daily intake of sugar in it, but if you’re drinking spirits with sugary mixers this can jump to 60% in a single cocktail. Studies show that alcoholism is at least partially hereditary, and this may also be true of sugar addiction.
In truth, it’s not always such a bad thing to eat some extra sugar in recovery. Allowing yourself to indulge in sugary snacks can help you stay sober—especially in the early days of recovery. However, relying on sweet treats to curb your alcohol intake should only be a temporary solution, not a long-term one. On the topic of mood, both sugarand alcoholare known to affect serotonin, one of the body’s main “feel-good” hormones. This is why having a drink, or eating something sweet, can take the edge off feelings of stress or depression. Many heavy drinkers are hypoglycemic, or have low blood sugar, which can cause them to crave sweets.
Why Do You Crave Sugar When You Stop Drinking Alcohol?
Ria Health offers access to prescription anti-craving medications and regular coaching sessions to help you overcome the urge to drink alcohol. We support both abstinence and moderation, so you don’t need to quit all at once, or even completely. Best of all, the whole thing can be done from an app on your smartphone. Sugar is similar to alcohol in the sense that it can become addictive if consumed too often. Think back to why your brain and body became addicted to alcohol.
Below, we’ll explore why cravings happen and offer a few tips to manage them, from in-the-moment techniques to long-term coping strategies. “Alcohol cravings can be very intense, especially in early recovery,” explains Ruby Mehta, licensed clinical social worker and director of clinical operations for digital recovery platform Tempest. This year, though, I’ve been much more aware of how much I’m drinking, and what I’m drinking, simply because I don’t want to slip back into my habit of weekend binges just for the sake of it. Our online classes and training programs allow you to learn from experts from anywhere in the world. Gradually desensitizes you to the substance’s effects, requiring you consume more to get the same “feel-good” response. Ria Health offers several FDA-approved medications for alcohol use disorder.
Alcohol Detox at Home: A Quick Guide
Surprisingly, some scientists believe sugar to bemore addictivethan drugs, such as cocaine. While there is disagreement on whether sugar can create a physiological or neurochemical addiction, evidence points to at least a strong psychological addiction. Debra Waters is an experienced drinks after work online editor and lifestyle writer with a focus on health, wellbeing, beauty, food and parenting. She currently writes for Goodto and Woman&Home, and print publications Woman, Woman’s Own and Woman’s Weekly. Previously, Debra was digital food editor at delicious magazine and MSN.
” said a man in a CHCH TV news video that has gone viral for his candour, channelling the Canadian beer-loving legacy of SCTV’s Bob and Doug McKenzie. Her husband, Andrew, died of complications from cardiovascular disease in January 2021. If you need to eat some ice cream every night for a while, that’s fine. Abstainers may also have low blood sugar and reach for sugar in place of their former crutch. Though the benefits can vary widely from person to person, taking a month-long break from alcohol can do your body good. Alcohol withdrawal delirium is the most serious form of alcohol withdrawal.
Mixed drinks often contain large amounts of additional sugar, but the alcohol itself does not contribute to your sugar intake. However, all alcoholic beverages contain a significant number of calories and have little to no nutritional value. We specialize in providing compassionate and highly individualized substance abuse treatment that is evidence-based and outcome-driven. Finally, extensive and thorough aftercare programs have demonstrable benefits in helping prevent relapse. In this specific context, they will also help the individual maintain a proper nutritional plan and manage cravings.
One of the many problems with alcohol abuse is that most of your caloric intake comes from the amount of alcohol you consume daily. This means that most people who stop drinking haven’t gotten their full nutritional value for an extended period. ‘The key to reducing sugar cravings is understanding what’s triggering them and to focus on balancing blood sugar to manage physical cravings,’ says Adrienne. What you’re essentially doing in having sugar is manually taking control of these two mechanisms for a while, until your system is more balanced.
Fortunately, she said, the intensity of the cravings shouldn’t last. “The body is really miraculous in coming into a homeostatic state,” she said. “Eventually, people feel more cravings for healthier foods and have more energy.” Alcohol cravings are common, especially when you first try to change your drinking habits.
Rather, it can make you feel less like drinking because it makes it difficult for your body to metabolize alcohol. If you drink when taking this medication, you’ll experience a number of unpleasant and unwanted effects, including nausea and vomiting, headache, sweatiness, and more. It’s not prescribed as often as it once was, but it’s still an option. Of course, alcohol and sugar cravings can sometimes go hand in hand.
Most addictive substances don’t share the connection alcohol has with sugar, so sugar cravings tend to surface only for AUDs. Long-term alcohol abuse inhibits the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar levels. This is partially a result of alcohol’s effects on the how drugs affect the brain pancreas, which is primarily responsible for blood sugar levels. Poor diet and malnutrition, two common traits among long-term addicts, can also affect blood sugar. Many heavy drinkers are hypoglycemic or have low blood sugar, which can cause sugar cravings.
Therapy with a trained mental health professional — particularly one who specializes in substance use and recovery — can be another great way to explore long-term changes in alcohol use. Research has shown there are biological links between alcohol and sugar consumption, with many alcohol-dependent people having a preference for sweet things. When your blood sugar is low, it’s natural for your body to crave sweets to counteract it. Even if you indulge and give your body sugar to level out, it won’t solve the issue long term. Your blood sugar will drop again, landing you right back where you started. As mentioned above, it can be tricky to keep sugar out of your diet.
This can become especially apparent when alcohol is removed from the equation. Some heavy drinkers may also experience “cross-tolerance” between alcohol and sugar. Cross-tolerance means that someone who is dependent on one addictive substance may also have higher tolerance for another. This can make it easier national institute on alcohol abuse and alcoholism niaaa to become dependent on that other substance—such as replacing alcohol with sugar. After you quit drinking, your body knows that it can reach a similar state through sugar. In fact, according to the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, sugar affects many of the same neural pathways in the brain as alcohol does.